There is no other experience that comes close to working with tigers, and lions. This was a childhood dream of mine ever since I can remember. The most common question people ask me is how in the world did I end up working with tigers? Here is a brief explanation. My animal career started out at the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, CA. I volunteered in the herpetology department when I was in highschool. I eventually was licensed by the California Fish and Game as a falconer, and flew birds of prey. This experience led me to a job at the bird department at Six Flags in Vallejo, CA. After a few months working with the exotic birds, I obtained a position as a trainer at Tiger Island where I worked for many years. I also worked at Wildlife Companions Sanctuary in Suisun, CA and the Oregon Tiger Sanctuary. The relationship that develops with tigers and lions over the years is absolutely incredible, and I revel in all these moments with them. It is important to note that the big cats are not pets, and they are not tame by any means. There have been times where I have been seriously injured by them and had to go to the hospital as a result. We trained the tigers to not bite and scratch when they are a few weeks of age, up to adulthood. My career working with the big cats inspired me to pursue wildlife conservation in Africa which is where I am today. Here are a few photos documenting my time with these amazing animals

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Rakhan, a 450lb Bengal Tiger at Six Flags in Vallejo, CA. It took two years before this tiger accepted me. It was a long, and at times, stressful process. Earning his trust and respect meant everything to me.

Chris_KumaWith Kuma, a male bengal tiger that I helped to raise.

With Nikka, the first lion that I raised as a cub.Nikka was the first lion that I helped to raise as a cub. Lions are very different than tigers because they are social animals and live in prides. Tigers are primarily solitary in nature.

 

 

 

RakhanGiving Rakhan low-fat milk, his favorite treat. He 13 ft. tall.

Rakhan and SikariThis young cub is Sikari with her uncle Rakhan. She was the first tiger that I raised. I was with her mom Kali, when she gave birth to her. This was a once in a lifetime moment.

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